Two Ariel drama students spread their wings

Ellie Rayward. Stephen Candy Photography
Ellie Rayward. Stephen Candy Photography

Ariel Company Theatre are delighted that two of their students have obtained places with National Youth Music Theatre (NYMT) and Youth Music Theatre (YMT) this summer.

These renowned organisations audition thousands of hopefuls at the start of the year to perform in new productions and provide a unique stepping stone and training ground for students hoping for a career in performing arts.

Dominique Froud. Stephen Candy Photography

Dominique Froud. Stephen Candy Photography

Dominique Froud, 17, from St Paul’s Catholic College, Burgess Hill, has been a student for nine years at Ariel’s Burgess Hill Academy and after tough call-backs was awarded the role of Ellie-May in the brand new musical theatre production of Billy the Kid.

The musical was specially commissioned by NYMT for the 2017 season, and written by Ben Frost and Richard Hough.

It tells the story of William who is small for his age, quiet and shy, which makes him an easy target for lazy bullies. But in his dreams, William is Billy the Kid, a courageous cowboy, riding the range with the sun in his eyes – an all-American hero.

Dominique is already in rehearsals for her part and cannot wait to perform during the summer school holidays. Billy the Kid will premiere at the Curve, Leicester, from August 23-26.

Hurstpierpoint College drama scholarship pupil Ellie Rayward is over the moon to have been offered a place on a NYMT production and has been cast as Penny in Honk!

This charming musical is a twist on Hans Christian Andersen’s The Ugly Duckling and has winged its way around the world, winning multiple awards. The NYMT show will be performed at three festivals over the summer.

In addition, Ellie, who is also a talented dancer, has also won a place in a Youth Music Theatre, Dance Connection Production, called Reflections of Swan Lake, to be performed in London at Sadler’s Wells on August 4-5. Like Dominique, Ellie attends Ariel’s Burgess Hill Academy every Saturday morning.

Bev Locke, Ariel’s Burgess Hill Academy principal said: “We are so proud of Dominique and Ellie. They have both worked really hard to gain these places. The competition is always very tough and while the auditions can be a lot of fun, they are always long and gruelling and there are only a few places.

“We wish them all the luck in the world with their shows and their Ariel friends look forward to seeing them perform.”

Ariel’s drama academies offer free trials for prospective students aged 4-19. There is no audition process and everyone is welcome.

Places are currently available at the Crawley, Haywards Heath and East Grinstead academies and short waiting lists are in place at Burgess Hill and Steyning.

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